Knowing you will soon withdraw travel plans to Oslo gave me pause
about posting my answer. I?m afraid I must run that risk and post the
facts of Live Blood Analysis and Electrodermal Allergy Testing. I?ll
admit I had never heard of either until your posted question, and
found the research to be interesting, but questionable. You ?mite? as
well aim those steam guns at the electrodermal and live blood testing
equipment, but please spare me!
According to CNN, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) methods
of allergy testing fall short of the mark.
?On the surface, some CAM approaches for allergies may sound logical.
But all are based on unproven theories. To add to the confusion, some
of these approaches are promoted by medical professionals.
Although CAM therapies may help treat some conditions such as
arthritis pain, no such evidence exists for alternative allergy tests
and treatments. If you're considering a CAM approach for your
allergies, you may end up wasting your time and money on ineffective
and unsafe methods ? and delaying conventional treatment that may
offer genuine relief.?
· Cytotoxic testing. This test is similar to ALCAT. The practitioner
draws samples of your blood and exposes them to different extracts.
The difference is that a technician looks through a microscope for
evidence of cellular changes that indicate allergy.
· Electrodermal testing. In one hand, you hold a negative electrode
attached by a wire to an aluminum plate. The practitioner adds vials
of food extracts to the plate. He or she then completes the circuit by
probing various points on your body with a positive electrode.
Fluctuations in the low-voltage electrical current supposedly indicate
an allergy to a particular food.
?There are a plethora of so-called tests for "Intolerances" including
urine, stool and saliva as well as Bio-resonance (Vibrational
Medicine). These tests are often promoted as "wonder" diagnoses and
anecdotal stories of lifelong allergies finally being diagnosed
abound. It is naïve for medical practitioners to accept these
individual anecdotal reports of diagnostic efficacy without any
scientifically validated studies to prove their worth. We often read
about similar tests in the media and unsuspecting patient?s flock to
part with their hard-earned money. Often conventional medical
practitioners are accused of bias against these simple and "cheap"
tests and feel pressurised to try them out. On the other hand, a
convincing practitioner armed with an impressive allergy-diagnosing
"contraption" can talk even the most sensible patient into believing
their pseudo-scientific explanations and anecdotal reports of allergy
cures. Once the patient realises that they have been incorrectly
diagnosed, they feel embarrassed, put the matter down to bad
experience and hardly ever complain about the treatment or costs
involved. For more information on these dubious tests visit the
Quackwatch website at http://www.quackwatch.com and Genewatch UK
Here?s a bit of what Quackwatch had to say:
?The devices described in this article are used to diagnose
nonexistent health problems, select inappropriate treatment, and
defraud insurance companies. The practitioners who use them are either
delusional, dishonest, or both. These devices should be confiscated
and the practitioners who use them should be prosecuted. If you
encounter any such device, please report it to the state attorney
general, any relevant licensing board, the FDA, the FTC, the FBI, the
National Fraud Information Center, and any insurance company to which
the practitioner submits claims that involve use of the device.?
?The first EAV device was developed by Reinhold Voll, a West German
physician who had been engaged in acupuncture practice in the 1950s.
In 1958, he combined Chinese acupuncture theory with galvanic skin
differentials to produce his EAV system. About ten years later, one of
his students (another German physician named Helmut Schimmel)
simplified the diagnostic system from approximately 850 points to 60
points, made small modifications to the equipment, and went on to help
create the first model of the Vegatest. Subsequent variants include
the Accupath 1000, Biotron, Computron, Dermatron, DiagnoMètre,
Eclosion, Elast, Interro, LISTEN System, MORA, Natrix Physiofeedback
System, Omega AcuBase, OmegaVision, Orion System, Prophyle, Punctos
III, and Vitel 618.?
?Unproven methods ---There are several methods that claim to test for
allergy. These include cytotoxic food testing, kinesiology, Vega
testing, electrodermal testing, pulse testing, reflexology and hair
analysis. These tests have not been scientifically validated and may
lead you to take unnecessary, costly and (in the case of some changes
in diet) dangerous avoidance strategies. No Medicare rebate is
available in Australia for these tests and the use of these methods is
Electrodermal Testing (Also known as Vega Testing)
?The validity of electrodermal screening, a popular alternative
diagnostic tool used to detect allergies, has been challenged by a
study published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal
?The testing procedure works like this: the patient holds an electrode
that is connected by circuit to a probe held by the examiner. The
examiner places an allergen in a holder on the circuit and then
touches the probe to an acupuncture point on the patient?s skin. The
greater the sensitivity of the patient to the allergen, the higher the
reading on the galvanometer. The test is usually repeated using an
array of foods and environmental substances.?
The author of the above article, Cathy Wong, N.D. believes it?s time
to move away from electrodermal testing.
The study in Southern England mentioned above, consisted of 30
volunteers, as reported in the British Journal of Medicine, and
Outcome: The presence or absence of an allergy according to the
standard protocol for electrodermal testing.
Results: All the non-atopic participants completed all 3 testing
sessions (810 individual tests); 774 (95.5%) of the individual tests
conducted on the atopic participants complied with the testing
protocol. The results of the electrodermal tests did not correlate
with those of the skin prick tests. Electrodermal testing could not
distinguish between atopic and non-atopic participants. No operator of
the Vegatest device was better than any other, and no single
participant's atopic status was consistently correctly diagnosed.
Conclusion: Electrodermal testing cannot be used to diagnose
?Electrodermal Testing is a quick, safe and painless method of
checking an individual's response to a variety of substances that may
be triggering an allergic reaction. The results of this test are
considered in conjunction with the patient's medical history and if
indicated, further tests can be requested.
In common with other forms of intolerance testing, the validity of
this method of identifying sensitivities to allergens has yet to be
fully established by the medical and scientific professions.
Consequently, it cannot be considered diagnostic on it's own. However,
the results of one study using this method in diagnosing inhalant
allergies found it to be 96% accurate?
?This test was developed by German physician Dr Reinhold Voll in 1958.
The VEGA Test (or Electrodermal Test) involves measuring
electromagnetic conductivity in the body using a Wheatstone bridge
Galvanometer. The patient has one electrode placed over an acupuncture
point and the other electrode is held while a battery of allergens and
chemicals are placed in a metallic honeycomb. A fall in the
electromagnetic conductivity or a "disordered reading" measured
indicates an allergy or intolerance to that allergen. Newer
transistorised/computerised versions of the original VEGA or Voll test
are called Dermatron, BEST, Quantum and LISTEN Systems which have a
similar application and give more rapid results. Some proclaim to test
for 3500 allergens in 3 minutes! Katelaris et al and Holgate performed
independent double blind testing comparing VEGA testing with
conventional testing in known allergy sufferers, and the VEGA Tests
had no reproducibility or diagnostic accuracy at all.?
Live Blood Analysis
Live Blood Analysis was new to me! This testing form is very
interesting, and I have done similar testing for antigen-antibody
reaction, viewed under a microscope. You can see photos of the
reaction on the next link, but I?m not convinced of its sensitivity
and specificity to allergens, especially mites and dust. Although
seeing their blood on a screen can be impressive to some, I?m not
convinced that this method can diagnose anything useful.
Statements from a company that markets the equipment and ?training?
for live blood testing disturb me. I?ve spent 25 years viewing blood
and its components under a microscope, and I can say one can NOT test
for ?deterioration?, most parasites, or coagulation disorders from a
fresh drop or of blood drying on a glass slide. One can?t determine
with any degree of certainty the species of most bacteria from a drop
of blood, without special stains and testing methods. Without special
stains and an oil immersion lens and a flow cytometer, one can?t
distinguish between T cells and B cells. Coagulation disorder testing
is very precise and can not be determined from a drop of whole blood.
A three day training period hardly gives one knowledge of diagnosing
any disorders, with or without this pseudo-analyzer.
?When we view blood for nutritional counseling, we can use three
primary techniques. The first two techniques view blood in its live,
unchanged state. First we are looking at the overall terrain or
environment of the blood with knowledge of the pleomorphic theories of
disease as related to pH utilizing the European/German research.
Second we can view blood from the more Americanized
allopathic/nutritional perspective. In either case we are looking at
what's normal and what's not. Red cells, white cells, T cells, B
cells. Are there parasites? How fast is the blood deteriorating? This
gives us insights to nutritional metabolic conditions. A third test we
can perform is a dry layer test. Here we take a series of blood drops
and let them dry on a specimen slide. The reasons for this is that the
coagulation cascade of the blood gets thrown off when the body
degenerates through oxidative stress, mycotoxicoses, or disease.?
?After the 3 days of training you'll be up and running and can be
generating revenue with your microscope. However, once you embark on
using the microscope, the training really never ends. It is on-going
every time you look at a new blood sample. Live blood is dynamic and
ever changing. Expanded classes on specific topics are an option you
can choose for the future, but you'll get so much from our time
together, it will keep you going for a while.
Do I need a special license to use a microscope? No. The microscope is
only a tool. You don't need a license to operate this tool.?
?Live blood cell analysis is carried out by placing a drop of blood
from the patient's fingertip on a microscope slide under a glass cover
slip to keep it from drying out. The slide is then viewed at high
magnification with a dark-field microscope that forwards the image to
a television monitor. Both practitioner and patient can then see the
blood cells, which appear as dark bodies outlined in white. The
practitioner may take polaroid photographs of the television picture
or may videotape the procedure for himself and/or the patient. The
results are then used as a basis for prescribing supplements. The
procedure is also called live cell analysis, dark-field video
analysis, nutritional blood analysis, libe blood analysis, and several
other names. Most of its users are chiropractors, naturopaths, or
bogus "nutrition consultants."?
?These claims are sheer bunkum. Dark-field microscopy is a valid
scientific tool in which special lighting is used to examine specimens
of cells and tissues. The objects being viewed stand out against a
dark background-the opposite of what occurs during regular microscopy.
This allows the observer to see things that might not be visible with
standard lighting. Connecting a television monitor to a microscope for
diagnostic purposes is also a legitimate practice. However, live cell
analysis is not.
Although a few characteristics of blood (such as the relative size of
the red cells) are observable, live cell analysts invariably
misinterpret other things, such as the extent of red blood cell
clumping, changes in the shape of the cells, and other artifacts that
occur as the blood sample dries. Moreover, most practitioners who
perform the test are not qualified to manage the problems they purport
?In 1996, the Pennsylvania Department of Laboratories informed three
Pennsylvania chiropractors that Infinity's "Nutritional Blood
Analysis" could not be used for diagnostic purposes unless they
maintain a laboratory that has both state and federal certification
for complex testing?
?An exciting new development in medicine, the analysis of live blood
is very different from the tests usually carried out in laboratories,
which quantify the actual levels of various components of a sample of
blood. Live Blood Analysis is a technique that allows us to view at
high magnification the quality of an individual's blood, just as it
comes, straight from the body.
The technology is relatively new to the UK and rarely found outside
London. No special preparation of the sample is required. A small drop
of blood is obtained, using a gentle finger-prick and is placed under
a powerful microscope. A video camera attached to the lens feeds the
image through a video recorder and it is then displayed on a TV
screen, for both the doctor and patient to view.?
Recommended Methods of Allergy Testing:
RAST (Radio Allergo-sorbent test)/CAP/SAIGE and Skin testing
I realize you are not a pediatric patient, but the testing methods
apply to adults as well!
?The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic value of common
allergy tests with basophil histamine release in 124 children with
symptoms of asthma. The patients were evaluated by case history, skin
prick test, RAST-analysis, and basophil histamine release using a
glass fibre-based histamine assay to 10 common inhalant allergens. The
bronchial provocation test was used as a reference of "true"
IgE-mediated asthma. To compare the various diagnostic parameters each
absolute test value was classified into a scoring system. The
concordance between the tests varied between 85-97%. In general, the
best concordance was found between basophil histamine release and
RAST. Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values were calculated
on the basis of 104 bronchial provocation tests. It was found that
histamine release was the best single analysis, followed by RAST and
prick testing. The sensitivity of RAST and histamine release was very
high (1.00) for pollen and house dust mites. Histamine release showed
a predictive value between 0.91 and 1.00 for pollen and house dust
mites, thus indicating the possibility of omitting the bronchial
provocation test. In the dander group histamine release gave the best
sensitivity (0.91), however at the expense of specificity (0.64),
whereas RAST and skin prick test gave a specificity of 1.00. In the
mould group histamine release also showed the best diagnostic value.
The combination of skin testing with histamine release or RAST was of
no additional diagnostic help. It is concluded that the glass
fibre-based histamine analysis, which makes routine histamine release
testing possible, is a reliable diagnostic test in children.?
For HDM (House dust mites), a newer form of RAST, called CAP is the
gold standard test.
?First described in 1967, the radio allergo sorbent test (RAST) has
been the standard technique for measuring allergen-specific IgE
antibodies in serum. An updated version of the RAST test, termed CAP
(Pharmacia), has been introduced. In clinical practice, CAP results
must be interpreted with care. The diagnostic performance of CAP
varies in an allergen-specific manner, and CAP scores do not always
correlate with clinical severity. CAP sensitivity, specificity, and
positive predictive values agree well with skin prick tests (SPTs) for
house dust mites and grasses, but poorly with tests for cat dander and
?In RAST testing, a blood sample is taken for use in the laboratory,
where the antibody- containing serum is separated from the blood
cells. The serum is then exposed to allergens bound to a solid medium.
If a person has antibodies to a particular allergen, those antibodies
will bind to the solid medium and remain behind after a rinse.
Location of allergen-antibody combinations is done by adding
antibody-reactive antibodies, so called anti-antibodies, that are
chemically linked with a radioactive dye. By locating radioactive
spots on the solid medium, the reactive allergens are discovered.?
?Despite technical improvements, commercially available
allergen-specific IgE assays have some disadvantages. First, no
uniform method for reporting results has been established. At this
time, the most common reporting method is to rate test serum in
relation to allergy-free control serums. The mean and standard
deviation are computed for the negative and the test serums, and
results that differ by more than 2 or 3 standard deviations are
considered positive. Another method for reporting results compares the
test serum with a calibration curve for the same specific IgE. This is
then graded in classes on a scale of 0 to 4, with 4 representing the
largest amount of specific IgE present.
A second disadvantage of assay tests is that they are not as sensitive
as prick tests (table 2). In fact, sensitivity has been reported to
range from less than 50% to more than 90%, with the average being
between 70% and 75% in most studies (12). Skin tests, therefore, are
the preferred tests for diagnosis of IgE-mediated hypersensitivity.?
About RAST - ?These tests detect antigen-specific IgE antibodies in
the patient's serum. They are useful when testing for inhalant
allergens (pollens, molds, dust, mites, animal danders), foods, insect
stings, and other allergens such as drugs, when direct skin testing is
impossible due to extensive dermatitis, marked dermatographism, or in
children younger than four years of age.?
?The most recent approach to allergy testing is to carry out a
chemical test on a blood sample to measure whether you have IgE to
specific allergens. The ?Specific Allergen IgE? test is called
?SAIGE?. An earlier, less reliable blood test was called RAST. This
procedure is carried out by collecting a blood sample in the usual
way. A tiny drop of your blood serum is then mixed with a dilute
solution containing the allergen. A chemical detection system is able
to determine whether there is IgE in the blood serum that binds to the
allergen. The blood tests (SAIGE) are fairly expensive because the
pure allergen molecules that are used in the test are very costly to
isolate and purify. There are several hundred possible substances
that can be tested. One strategic approach is to test against a
mixture of substances. If the mixture is negative, no more testing in
this area is required. But if the mixture is positive, the components
can be tested individually.
Blood test results must be interpreted with a degree of caution !!
85% of the time when the SAIGE is positive you will be allergic to
that substance. 85% of the time when the SAIGE is negative you will
not be allergic to the substance. But what about the 15% of the time
the test is misleading? This does not mean that the test is bad or
has been performed incorrectly. It is because the mechanism of
allergy causation is very complex.?
Skin Prick test
?In prick testing, a drop of each allergen to be tested is placed on
the skin, usually on the forearm or the back. A typical battery of
tests may involve two dozen allergen drops, including a drop of saline
solution that should not provoke a reaction (negative control) and a
drop of histamine that should provoke a reaction (positive control). A
small needle is inserted through the drop, and used to prick the skin
below. A new needle is used for each prick. The sites are examined
over the next twenty minutes for evidence of swelling and redness,
indicating a positive reaction. In some instances, a tracing of the
set of reactions may be made by placing paper over the tested area.
Similarly, in intradermal testing, separate injections are made for
each allergen tested. Observations are made over the next twenty
?Prick tests are routinely performed on the volar aspect of the
forearm or on the upper back, which is more reactive than the forearm
(2). Current recommendations call for a 2- to 2.5-cm space between
each test site. Also, tests should not be performed within 5 cm of the
wrist or 3 cm of the antecubital fossa (3). Skin tests cannot be
carried out on sites of active dermatitis or severe dermatographism.
Furthur skin testing: Intradermal tests are used when prick testing
is not sensitive enough to detect the cause of an allergic reaction.
Examples of this situation include retesting in a patient who has a
negative prick test but a strong clinical history of symptoms
triggered by exposure to a specific allergen or in the patient who has
low sensitivity to skin tests. However, although they have a higher
sensitivity than prick tests, intradermal tests have a lower
specificity. Therefore, they are not recommended for first-line
diagnostic evaluation for most allergens. Although they are often part
of the usual protocol for detecting sensitivity to betalactam
antibiotics and Hymenoptera insect stings, intradermal tests are
usually preceded by prick tests because of the risk of systemic
allergic reactions with intradermal methods.
?Intradermal dilutional testing is intradermal testing of sequential
and incremental dilutions of a single antigen. The endpoint is
determined by intradermal testing with the use of approximately 0.1-ml
of generally serial five-fold dilution extract. It is the weakest
dilution that produces a positive skin reaction and initiates
progressive increase in the diameter of the wheals with each stronger
dilution. In a guideline, revised in 2003, the American Academy of
Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) recommends screening prick tests with
relevant antigens to determine which to use in subsequent intradermal
dilutional testing. If screening is positive and immunotherapy is
contemplated, the AAOA recommends no more than 40 antigen be tested
unless indicated by unusual clinical circumstances.?
?The advantage of allergy skin testing is that it not only can confirm
an initial diagnosis of allergies, but it may pinpoint the exact
cause. Based on the results of the test, your doctor can suggest the
most effective methods for controlling your symptoms. For example, if
you're allergic to pollen, your doctor may suggest that you run an air
conditioner at home as much as possible during pollen season. In other
cases, allergy tests can provide reassurance that you aren't allergic
to something you might have suspected.
The disadvantage of allergy skin testing is that it can't be done for
every possible allergen, so some allergies may not be identified. Your
doctor may suggest that you skip the allergy tests and go directly to
allergy medications. If allergy medications work and don't cause side
effects, then allergy testing may not be necessary. If allergy
medications don't work or they cause side effects, then you may want
to consult with an allergist and proceed with testing.?
More Information on Allergies
?If reducing the exposure to the mites is not effective, medications
or allergy shots may be needed to help control the symptoms. Contact
your physician or allergist for advice.?
House-dust mite allergies
One ugly bug:
Causes of Allergies
Illustrated Allergic Response
Bryan, after learning about the electrodermal and live blood testing,
I would have to recommend forgoing said forms of testing. I realize
that some forms of alternative therapies are effective, and that
conventional and alternative thinking are often at odds. However, in
this case, I would stick with skin prick testing concurrently with
RAST/SAIGE/CAP testing, and compare results. It would be money better
Good luck, get well, and please advise what you decide to do! Sincerely, Crabcakes
Live blood testing
Allergy testing + mites